THE FUTURE IS NOT OURS TO SEE

Today is day 6 of 15 of COP15, the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. It appears that “Climategate” has not changed the fact that — according to media reports in any case — every person, on every side of the controversy over what to do about CO2 emissions — is totally entranced by the three AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) illusions:

#1. Excess CO2 in the atmosphere is due to human activities

#2. Global climate is warming abnormally, and

#3. #1 is the cause of #2.

Each of these three hypotheses is controversial, yet they are assumed as the framework of the discussions ongoing in Copenhagen. The truth is, the paleoclimate data is contested, the present state of our climate is contested, and the future is not ours to see. But one thing is certain, global climate will warm, or cool, or perhaps stay as it is. And in any case, the social and economic implications are catastrophic, and we should be preparing for all possibilities. Hopefully, the COP discussions will lead in this direction, but a major paradigm shift will be required.

WHATEVER WILL BE WILL BE

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10 Responses to “THE FUTURE IS NOT OURS TO SEE”

  1. hkyson Says:

    “Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.

    It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.

    A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.

    Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.

    But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.

    The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.

    All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.

    It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.

    Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  2. Anthony Judge Says:

    The questions are of course appropriate. My worry is presented at some length here:

    Sins of Hot Air Emission, Omission, Commission and Promission
    the political challenge of responding to global crises
    http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/musings/omission.php

    In summary

    Just suppose there were more than two “sides” to the issue — irrespective of any coimbination. The third side might say that both sides were obscuring another issue by demonising each other — and together were out to “dupe the public”. My own interest is in the factors missing from “the science” that has supposedly made such an overwhelming case. I do not doubt the case for warming. I do doubt the
    conclusions drawn from excluding other factors. The World Political Forum
    has drawn attention to water and biodiversity, for example.

    The UN Population Fund has only just been able to draw attention to
    population. Presumably anti-deniers and their enemies consider such factors
    equally irrelevant. That is where any non-transparency of climate
    scientists starts to stink. What have they, in their wisdom, chosen to
    ignore — because it is not part of their science? Who would know and
    where would they express that view? George does not help. He seem to be
    part of the problem

    As usual it is what is not being said that is so significant. Not hot air
    emissions but hot air omissions (as argued in the referenced paper)

    The great thing about the Guardian editorial (in 56 newspapers) ‘Fourteen
    days to seal history’s judgment on this generation’, is how applicable is
    the argument if one substitutes “overpopulation” for “climate change”.

    An early sentence then reads Unless we combine to take decisive action,
    overpopulation will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and
    security. . Of course it also reads well if one substitutes “water
    shortage”, “food shortage” or “energy shortage”. However in such cases it
    is “overpopulation” which trumps them all. Humanity can adapt to climate
    change if there are less people, but not if there are more.

    So the pro and anti argument are fig leaves inhibiting
    an interdisciplinary scientific approach to the underlying problem. Or rather who would deternien to what extwnt this was the case, given the polarizition of the debate

    • r2abraham Says:

      I agree … the crux is population … and our inability to do anything about it … “the predicament of mankind” according to the club of rome in the 1960s … and one seldom hears it mentioned in the hulabaloo over CO2

  3. Jacob Aman Says:

    Are these really illusions? I’ve been searching for credible rebuttals of AGW for 5 years now and every time that I think I’ve found one, it unravels. That Ian Plimer guy apparently directs 5 mines in Australia and there are gaps in the data supporting his perspective (though he does bring up many good points that remain unexplained by AGW supporters).

    James Lovelock still seems to have the most well-rounded ecological perspective on the matter. I wonder about his support of nuclear power though, not because I disagree with his assertions about its safety and its, but rather because it will enable our populations to continue abusing energy and environments around the globe as well as being a very centralized, less community based form of energy acquisition. Solar and other methods easier to promote and develop on a smaller scale will help small farming communities flourish.

    Ultimately I am in support of the reduction of CO2 and the other greenhouse gases that the IPCC has targeted, but there are many other ecological issues that merit more immediate attention. If this climate change campaign is the only way that governments can steer the world away from fossil fuels and convince people of the safety and efficacy of nuclear power, etc. then I guess that is good.

    Anyways, I’m curious to see what information you have found that has made you a non-believer 🙂 .

    ~ jacob

  4. tommus Says:

    the specter of “over-population” is perhaps more fruitfully approached by flipping it over and calling it an energy shortage. with enough energy, basic needs like food, water, shelter can be produced in amounts to support any population in comfort and style. also, tasks like managing the climate (if it in fact can be managed) can become an active creative process (terraforming Terra) rather than a restriction on growth. it’s ironic that the “reduce emissions” approach will slow down the rapid economic growth that is needed to support new technology that could solve this problem. and it doesn’t look like zillions of solar panels are going to do the trick either.
    having come to this site through a transcript of a Terence McKenna interview, his words are still ringing in my ears. if 10,000 years of civilization is truly a “hundred-yard dash to transcendence”, we had better resist the temptation to slow down and look behind us so close to the finish line.
    a large portion of our “gross planetary product” should be allocated to engineering nuclear fusion, both hot and cold. right now the world budget for cold fusion research is probably less than $100 million, and maybe more like $10 million (just a guess) and is conducted mostly by scientific pariahs in their basements. the treatment of the Pons/Fleischmann research was an outrage many orders of magnitude worse than Climategate. bottom line is this: if we don’t have cold fusion by 2100, it ain’t gonna matter how high the sea levels are, or what the global population is. humanity will be at a dead end.

  5. Russ Wellen Says:

    Time to write some new posts, old man! (Great seeing you again.)

  6. Anthony Judge Says:

    For the benefit of whomever I have collected a mass of kinks on Copenhagen and its aftermath, in the following:

    Insights for the Future from the Change of Climate in Copenhagen
    http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs10s/copen.php

    followed by sections on

    Activating the blame game
    Climate science and “Climategate”
    Possible questions for the future
    Climate change used as a fig leaf — to conceal a more challenging issue?
    Mapping the climate change context of Copenhagen

    For me the issue is why population has become so dangerous. Hence a piece on:

    Overpopulation Debate as a Psychosocial Hazard
    development of safety guidelines from handling other hazardous materials
    http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/musings/psyhaz.php

  7. Antonio Sesé Says:

    Mr. Abraham, I got from the library “Chaos, Cosmos, and Creativity” and I “read” it in around two hours. How could I criticize this book politely? … Let’s say that my favorite part was the last one (the glossary).

    Regarding your post, I agree with you that the sentence …
    #3 Global climate is warming abnormally due to an excess in the atmospheric CO2 due to human activities.
    … is only a hypothesis. It is not a scientific truth. If, in the next centuries, measurements on global temperature could evidence that there is a man-made global warming due to the greenhouse gases: Ok. But until then … we can, either to believe in the IPCC, or not to do it.

    On the other hand, I understand that overpopulation is what it actually worries you. All those Lotka-Volterra competitive exclusion equations, do not model a pleasant ending for the humankind.
    Anyhow, all we can do is to believe in God’s compassion and to hope (against what it is said that his son “revelated” to St. John) that He shall not let the humankind to terminate in any catastrophic-apolalyptic way.

    Best regards,
    Antonio.

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